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A Jekyll playground site

Creating a simple tab control in Jekyll

Author: Alex Vie
Title: Creating a simple tab control in Jekyll
Language: en-US
Category: Jekyll
Created: 16:38 on Thursday, 02. November 2017
Modified: 16:38 on Thursday, 02. November 2017

A include-able fragment to build a simple tab control in a Jekyll page. Simple and flexible, can be adopted easily to other static page generators.

This is HTML/CSS/Javascript only, and should work for any static site generator with an include feature similar to Jekyll’s.

Tags: jekyllcss
Page layout: no_sidebar
Last modified:
16:38 | by Alex Vie in Jekyll
Reading time: approx. 0 minute(s).

This is a liquid template fragment that builds a tab control in a Jekyll page. It is supported by CSS and some jQuery Javascript that will follow below. It’s supposed to be flexible and can contain an arbitrary number of tabs. Multiple tab controls on a single page are possible.

Because this is plain HTML, CSS and some JavaScript (jQuery required), the concept can work for other static site generators or even plain old-school HTML.

<div class="tabcontrol container">
    <ul class="tabcontrol tabs" style="{{include.headerstyle}}">
        {% for tab in include.tabs %}
            <li class="tabcontrol tab {% if {tab[1].active %}active{% endif %}" data-name="{{tab[1].name}}" data-target="tab_{{}}" data-source="{{}}__{{tab[1].source}}">
            {% if tab[1].active %}
                {% assign defaultsource = tab[1].source %}
            {% endif %}
            {% if tab[1].content %}
            <div id="{{}}__{{tab[1].source}}" class="hidden">
                {{tab[1].content | markdownify }}
            {% endif %}
        {% endfor %}
    <div id="tab_{{}}" class="tabcontrol body {{include.bodyclass}}" style="{{include.bodystyle}}" data-defaultsource="{{}}__{{defaultsource}}">

List of parameters the include fragment can accept:

  • id - mandatory: A DOM id for the body container. Must be unique and will be used as prefix for all source elements..

  • tabs - mandatory: An array of data elements that defines the tabs. If it’s part of the page’s front matter, it must be specified as

  • headerstyle - optional: valid CSS attributes and values for the tab control header (the ul item containing the tabs). This will directly be passed as style attribute and should be formatted like the content for such an attribute.

  • bodystyle - optional: Same as above, but for the body element (the container for the content)..

  • bodyclass - optional: Additional CSS class for the body element.

How to define tabs

Tabs are defined as an array of YAML data items. They can be part of the document’s front matter or reside under Jekyll’s _data directory, accessible via the name space. This method allows to define tab controls as re-usable components with the content either defined in the data file OR in your page. It’s flexible enough to even mix content from the data file with content defined in the page.

        name: foo
        title: Page One
        source: source1
        name: bar
        title: Page Two
        source: source2
        content: >
            ## Headline

            This is the content of the second tab, it is defined in the frontmatter as **markdown**.

            A Link: [link](
        name: baz
        title: Page Three
        active: 1
        source: source3

The root element (page.tabs in our case) is then passed to the include fragment which will iterate over the array generating the HTML code. The title is what will appear on the tabs and source specifies the DOM element id that contains the HTML content for that tab. These elements should be DIVs of class hidden (the display attribute must be set to none, because they are not supposed to show up in the document).

The default page that should be visible on page load

The default tab must be specified using the active attribute. The value does not matter and can be anything as it is just checked for presence. If multiple tabs define the active attribute, the last one will take precedence. In our example above, tab3 will be the default.

How to set the content for a tab page

You can either include the DOM element in your markdown page, OR use the content property in which case, the DOM element will be created automatically with the given identifier. The source must always be present and will automatically be prefixed with the ID followed by two underscores. The content attribute can contain valid HTML and markdown and will be fed through markdownify.

To support multiple tab controls from the same template on a single page, the DOM ids for source elements are always prefixed with the id of the control (this is what is passed to the include in the id parameter), followed by two underscores.


Assume the YAML source property for a tab specifies source1, then the element ID you use in the document must be id__source1 where id is what you pass to to tabcontrol.html via the id parameter. This is case sensitive.

This is how such a source element should look like:

Assuming, the id of the tab control is foo and the tab definition defines source as source3:

<div class="hidden" id="foo__source3" markdown="1">
## This is source element #3

The content for tab page 3.

The (minimum) CSS

This is the bare bone CSS necessary for basic styling. Since the include allows you to pass additional classes for the tab control and body elements, you can easily expand the styling. Also, the include accepts headerstyle and bodystyle arguments, which must contain valid CSS and will be used as content for the style attribute.

ul.tabcontrol.tabs {
    margin: 0;
    height: 25px;
    box-sizing: border-box;
    border-bottom: 1px solid $lightgrey;

ul.tabcontrol.tabs {
    padding:3px 5px;
    cursor: pointer;
    list-style-type: none;
    border: 1px solid $lightgrey;
    border-bottom: none;
    box-sizing: border-box;
    height: 24px;
    background: white;
    margin-right: 2px;
    font-family: $sans_font !important;
    font-size: 10pt !important;
    line-height: 100% !important;
    border-radius: 2px 2px 0 0;

ul.tabcontrol.tabs {
    height: 28px;
    font-weight: bold !important;
    margin-top: -3px;
    border-top: 3px solid blue;

ul.tabcontrol.tabs {
    border-left: 1px solid $lightgrey;

div.tabcontrol.body {
    padding: 0;

div.tabcontrol.body.fullborder {
    border: 1px solid $lightgrey;
    border-top: none;
    padding: 10px;

div.tabcontrol.body p:last-child, div.tabcontrol.body ul:last-child {
    margin-bottom: 0;

The JavaScript code

This code requires jQuery and must be part of the $(document).ready() function. Ideally, the script to load the default content should execute early in the page’s ready() handler, but this only matters if your page is heavy on scripts and does a lot in the ready() function.

    // set the default content from data-defaultsource
    // if your page is script-heavy, you may want to make this execute early
    // in the $(document).ready() handler to avoid ugly delays.
    $('div.tabcontrol.body').each(function() {
        $(this).html($('#' + $(this).data('defaultsource')).html());

    // handle click on tabs
    $('').click(function() {
        $('#' + $(this).data('target')).html( $('#' + $(this).data('source')).html());


Here is a demonstration. The include fragment is called with the following parameters:

{% include tabcontrol.html bodyclass="fullborder" tabs=page.tabs id="foo" %}

The elements foo__source1 and foo__source3 are defined in the document as hidden DIVs while source2 gets its content from the document’s front matter (see above).

  • Page One
  • Page Two
  • Page Three


Make it fully responsive without looking like crap.

jekyll css